Kidnapped UNIABUJA lecturers, children rescued
By Rose Onda
There are indications that six people kidnapped by bandits in University of Abuja staff quarters have been rescued successful. A staff of the University confirmed that the victims were found at Abaji, along Abuja-Lokoja expressway, through the help of the police and local vigilantee. They are currently at Abaji police station.
Mourning mood was activated in University of Abuja (UniAbuja) community on Tuesday when bandits invaded the staff quarters of the university located at Giri, along Abuja-Lokoja Expressway, and made away with six people.
The attack sent strong fears and panic among students and lecturers of the school, who had before now, registered their concerns about the poor state of security in the school and its environs, particularly the increasing number of strange faces and movements within the school campus.
Some of the frightened residents threatened to vacate the staff quarters as quickly as possible because of the fear of further attacks by the bandits.
The abducted persons include a nine-year-old son of Prof. Bassey Ubong and his housemaid, one deputy registrar identified as Malam Mohammed Sambo, one Prof. Sumaila Obansa Joseph with his son and one Dr. Tobins Ferguson Hamilton.
Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. AbdulRasheed Na’Allah, Chairman and members of the governing council, other management staff of the school as well as the police, soldiers and men of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) were the early callers at the venue of the attack.
Students at both mini and main campus of the university were seen in groups discussing the development, with fear and anxiety written all over their faces.
Victims and witnesses told journalists that the bandits took advantage of the porousity of the school community, gained entry into the staff quarters through the unfenced part of the quarters and and unleashed terror on the residents.
They confirmed that the operation started few minutes past 12am on Tuesday and lasted more than two hours.
Spokesman of the university, Habib Yakoob, who confirmed the incident in a statement, on Tuesday, said the school is still on the trace of the people that were kidnapped, using security agents.
The statement reads: “Suspected bandits attacked the staff quarters of the university in the early hours of today (Tuesday). Our safety officers, in conjunction with security personnel, mobilised to secure the quarters.
“However, we have report that four of our staff and their children were, nevertheless, abducted by the evil men. Efforts are being made to ensure their safe return. This is a sad day for us, indeed.”
Mrs. Offiong Ubom, who witnessed the incident, told journalists that the experience sent serious trauma down the spine of the family members and the entire school community.
She said: “These guys invaded this place few minutes past 12am and started shooting sporadically into the air. This was, perhaps, to register their presence. From all indications, they have surveyed the area and gained mastery of the school environment.
“They had, perhaps, shared themselves, and strategically positioned themselves for a successful operation. They banged my door and that of my neighbours repeatedly and successfully forced themselves in.
“Over 10 of them invaded my house. Immediately they entered, they began to ransack the house, breaking things and asking for money. I told them there was no money in the house. They asked for my husband, I told them he traveled to Minna. Meanwhile, my was on hiding somewhere in the house because he thought it was people who were sent to kill him for unknown reasons.
“After several efforts, they brought us out of the house to meet other people held hostage. That was when I realized that several other families were attacked too. I saw my neighbours held hostage. That was when I knew that we are in danger.They attacked about five families and took away six people.
“For instance, they took away Prof. Obansa alongside two of his sons, even though they later released one. In my case, they took me, my son and daughter, but they later released me in the middle of the bush. I don’t know why they did that but I had wanted to go with them because of my son. They asked me and Prof. Obansa’s son to go, and they made away with my nine-year -old son and daughter, and four others.
“I pray they don’t hurt that my son. I waited for nine years for God to bless me with the boy. Such experience for him this early in life with affect him badly.
“They moved us all through the bush paths for close to an hour, and succeeded in separating me from my son. I initially resisted the idea of separating me from my son, but they placed a gun on my head and threatened to shoot me if I refuse to comply with their instructions and directives.”
One of Prof. Obansa’s son, Fidelis Obansa, told journalists that the incident has brought down his mother, hoping that the efforts would be intensified to secure the safe return of his father and brother.
FCT Director of Security, Taofeek Bello, who visited the scene of the incident on the directive of the FCT Minister, Muhammad Bello, assured the affected families and the school community that FCT Administration is committed to the security of the people and will deploy its might to ensure quick return of the abductees.
He said: “The minister sent me here because he is concerned about what had happened. He has directed that machineries are pooled together to ensure quick and urgent release of the abductees.
An in-house security official told journalists that as at noon on Tuesday, large number of armed soldiers, armed mobile policemen and local vigilantes, accompanied by some fulani herdsmen, were massively mobilized to comb the nearby bushes to secure the release of the abductees.
The security staff said that after being briefed by the commander, about 13 motorbikes and a utility vehicle was provided for the soldiers to embark on the mission to the bushes around the school and environs in search of the abductees.
Meanwhile, a senior staff of the university informed Daily Sun that there were indications that security agents involved in the rescue mission have tracked the victims to somewhere in Abaji as at Tuesday evening.